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Implementing Recycling Initiatives for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

A key element of any festival's sustainability policies is environmentally friendly recycling of waste generated on-site. There are numerous options available for festival organisers to reduce on-site waste and push festival-goers into a recycling mindset. What are the practical steps that organisers can take to implement on-site recycling of waste.


The volumes of rubbish generated from a large-scale multi-day music festival are enormous and managing this waste to return a site to its previous state can be a challenge. In part this is about education of festival-goers and vendors where clear communication messages define how waste can be disposed of and clarify what can and cannot be recycled.

Recyling Facilities On-site. 
If organisers provide on-site facilities for rubbish disposal clearly marked with what can and cannot be disposed of then people will us them. A range of colour coded bins situated throughout a festival site can really help separate any rubbish and is preferable to a single bin that accepts all waste. Most contractor suppliers of waste bins can provide separate bins for glass, paper, food, plastic and metal collection and will also provide pick up and disposal as part of their hire services. 

Take Litter Home. 
One of the biggest differences that festival-goers and vendors can make is to be encouraged to take their waste home. This is particularly important for tents which still constitute a high proportion of waste post-event. Messaging pre-event to get visitors to make simple efforts like bringing reusable drinks containers to the event actually make a big difference and reduce the volume of single use plastics, glass and metal can waste generated on-site.

Charity Initiatives. 
Festival organisers can work with charitable organisations that focus on recycling and waste management. FWRD Together is now well established and present at many festivals with a focus on getting festival-goers to take their tents home. Another popular charity that is being seen more and more at numerous festivals is Every Can Counts which is a charity focusing on education and the collection of cans for recycling. They have a presence across Europe and often have a team of volunteers at dedicated pitches on festival sites. Some festivals have introduced an ‘ECO Bond’ where festival-goers make a small financial deposit which is refunded in exchange for recyclable waste handed in at the end of the event.

Getting festival-goers to think about their waste generation and thoughtful disposal of materials that can be recycled continues to be a challenge. There is still a considerable volume of waste from music festivals that ends up in landfill sites. Festival-goers are perhaps still focused on enjoying the party experience and not thinking too much about the consequences on the environment of attending a music festival.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics.  The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Sascha Hormel via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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